Twitter memes can come out of nowhere and take the world by storm. Such was the case last night with the creation of @FiredBigBird, an account started in apparent protest of Mitt Romney's promise in the presidential debate to axe PBS' funding.
Quickly rocketing to more than 20,000 followers, @FiredBigBird was the Big Bird-related ID of choice for "Sesame Street" fans upset at the Republican presidential nominee's threat to the TV network and the tall, yellow feathered star of that hit kids show.
But today was not such a good day for @FiredBigBird. Only hours after becoming a star in the face of the largest U.S. political event in the history of Twitter, the account was suspended this morning, according to the Washington Post. Things later looked brighter when the account was unsuspended, and as of the start of this writing, @FiredBigBird was trapped in Twitter lockdown hell once again.
There are many reasons why a Twitter account can be suspended. And Twitter isn't saying why @FiredBigBird was placed in limbo, noting that the company doesn't comment on individual accounts.
But the Washington Post reported that the owner of the account told it that the initial suspension was likely the result of some sort of "automatic function."
"An e-mail from Twitter to the man behind @FiredBigBird, signed by something called the 'Zendesk,' reported that the account was suspended for 'sending multiple unsolicited messages using the @reply and/or mention feature,'" the Post wrote. "In the same e-mail, the Zendesk announced the account had been reinstated. @FiredBigBird soon sent a tweet to his followers, now about 26,000 and counting, joking that Obama's stimulus funding had come through, allowing for his revival. In an e-mail interview after the suspension, the man behind the Twitter feed played it down, saying it was the result of an automatic function and not an attempt to suppress free speech."
The good news is that by the time this article was finished, the account was once again live, and now sporting 28,621 followers. But @FiredBigBird's owner seems aware that sentience can be a temporary thing, and is now urging fans to follow an emergency back-up account, @FiredBigBird2.
But just in case both of those accounts disappear, take comfort in the knowledge that @FireMeElmo is alive and kicking. And (hopefully) not going anywhere.